Author Topic: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?  (Read 2329 times)

ZMonet

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Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« on: March 18, 2018, 04:54:50 AM »
We recently went to a Sudbury school (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_school) near us to see what we thought of it for our 8-year-old daughter.  After the open house, I came away both excited and scared.  Excited because I think it could foster an environment to create a really great human being; scared because I have major concerns about one's ability to enter the mainstream and get a "good job".   

The school has less than a 100 students (5-18) and seems to have a focus on the arts (performing and graphic), with little set up IMO to foster interest in athletics/fitness, hard science, and things like psychology/history.  Yes, the kids can self-direct to those interests, but it seems like much more effort would need to be made.  In part, and this is something they acknowledge, this seems to come from that is where the type of student (and their parents) that attend put their focus.  This gives me pause.  There is nothing wrong with the arts, but my wife and I have concerns that attending such a school will foreclose some possibilities for my daughter later on in life.  I think we both realize that, coming from public school education backgrounds, we'll need to take a bit of a leap of faith, but we're trying to work through whether our apprehensions are the result of a likely outcome or if we just need to be more open-minded.

In watching videos and speaking with some of the students, they seemed very confident -- a real plus.  It also seemed like they took the students who were into drama from my high school and gave them their own school.  Nothing wrong with that per se, other than that I question whether it is truly "open learning" if so many of these kids are gravitating to the same interests. 

The alumnus that we met and heard of seemed to predominantly have gone on to community college and/or a 4-year arts program.  It makes me wonder how much of that is by choice and how much of that is because they weren't prepared for the possibility of a more conventional college experience after coming out of a very unconventional K-12 education.  I also question whether in, what is largely an undemocratic workplace, this democratic education approach will be too much culture shock.  On the other hand, I can see where such "outside the box" learning may be a true asset in a workplace that I think will be very much changed 15-20 years from now.

As you can see, we're really torn on the benefits of free learning versus the benefits of conformity...I'd love to get some input, to the extent anyone has insight, especially focusing on outcomes in terms of multiple measures of success (e.g., happiness, confidence, versatility, ability to make it in the real world, etc.).  Do you think this type of learning can be limiting?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 09:08:11 AM by ZMonet »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 10:02:12 AM »
I don't know anyone whose children have attended a Sudbury school, although there is one in my area.

This would not be the right choice for my children, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be the right choice for yours.  There are definitely aspects I like, but for us, it would be too unstructured. 

Two of my kids are total nerds (like me) and the other is a free-spirited artsy type.
My son would be doing calculus by the time he's 11 and would then spend the rest of the time playing Minecraft. He'd never ever ever work on language arts or history.  Ever.  Which means his spelling would probably preclude him ever getting a job that involved the written word.
Middle kid would be constantly drawing or writing her book and would ignore math and science.
Oldest kid might never have discovered she loves science if there wasn't someone to introduce her to labwork.  She now wants to be an astrophysicist. 

What is your child like?  Is she more into the arts or is she more analytical?  How would she handle this type of educational freedom?  Would you be able to steer her to make sure she's getting the base of knowledge you think she needs?  Do you/the school have a plan for what to do if she wants to delve into Chemistry or Biology or Physics, Computer Science or Robotics, or even wants to play an instrument or sing?

Is she more of a conformer (so she'll study what other kids are studying), or is she independent? 

Is she likely to find her tribe at this school...or, since it is small and arts-friendly, will she eventually feel left out/friendless? 

Do the graduates of this school often have to take remedial math courses when they go to college, or are they prepared?  What are their SAT scores like?

lindy_zag

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 10:07:36 AM »
My cousin was "unschooled" at home and never went on to any post-secondary education.

He's now 27 (28?) and a Bitcoin millionaire (I think he bought it right when it was invented, all of his friends and social activity was always online) and has lived on a commune in Portugal for the last few years. So, not exactly a conventional life, but he's happy.

BrandNewPapa

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 10:21:04 AM »
In for the follow as I have a daughter approaching 2.

Does you daughter seem to lean towards interest in hard sciences or engineering? Does she have interested in how things work?

cats

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 10:26:40 AM »
I don't know anyone who has done a Sudbury school, I do know a few people who are homeschooling with an "unschooling" philosophy.

From what I have seen, I think for younger kids it may be a real positive relative to public schools, as I think the public schools have gotten quite focused on test performance at very young ages.

However, I would be quite skeptical about continuing with it into grades 6-12.  With regards to my homeschooling friends, neither of them have the qualifications or background needed to teach more advanced science or mathematics (neither one did well in these subjects in HS, both basically scraped the bare minimum needed to graduate and that was it).  Not every kid needs to be an engineer or scientist but I do think it's handicapping them not to give them that opportunity--yes it's possible that the job market is going to change drastically in the next 20-30 years with AI and so on, but at the same time...people with math/science type skills have had more opportunities than artists, writers, etc. for the past few centuries and I don't see that disappearing completely.  If I was looking to send my kids to such a school I would be quite interested in what the capacity of the teachers was to assist students who showed interest/aptitude for science and math subjects.  Are they going to be able to help the kids when they come up against a difficult subject?  If not, do you and your wife have the aptitude and willingness to step in, or to find a tutor or other teacher outside the school? I definitely believe kids CAN teach themselves science and math if they are motivated, but they still benefit from having someone more knowledgeable around. My brother largely taught himself Algebra II over the summer when he was 14, and while it was his idea I don't know if he would have completed it or learned it as thoroughly if he hadn't had a math major (my father) checking in on him every evening to go over the concepts he was teaching himself.

I also had several friends who were "unschooled" through high school.  Some of them did okay (one went on to a solid 4-year public school, another did a couple of years of community college and then transferred), some of them really struggled (one girl aspired to be a doctor but couldn't even manage a 500 in math on the SAT).  None of them did the equivalent of AP coursework in high school, while most public high schools in my area offered quite a few AP courses and most college bound students took at least 1-2 courses and exams.

Personally, my plan is to send our kid(s) to a traditional public school and then fill in the gaps as I see them with my husband as needed (e.g. more math tutoring, more physical activity, a more expanded reading curriculum, home science projects, learning to build/repair things, getting involved in a local kids music or theater group, etc.).  Fortunately we will be FI by the time they are school age so we should be able to invest a decent chunk of time on these kinds of activities.

ZMonet

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 12:58:54 PM »
@cats -- I hear you about concerns that kids will not get the guidance that they need at higher levels of a subject.  The answer that we have gotten from the Sudbury school was that: (1) with the Internet, all information is accessible; (2) a staff member can help facilitate #1, if necessary; and (3) if #1 and #2 fail, the student can potentially gather up other students to vote for (everything is democratic -- "teachers" (they don't really call them that) get the same one vote as students).  Overall, their answer to all of these sorts of questions is, if someone wants it enough, they will find a way and the school looks to facilitate that.

@BrandNewPapa -- Interestingly, my daughter has a strong interest in art.  But she is eight and lots of kids like art when they are younger only to grow out of it later.  I would hate for her to not get enough exposure (even forced exposure) to try something new so as to see if she likes it.

@formerlydivorcedmom -- I share your concern about not getting enough exposure to other areas than their, at that time, predominant interest.  The Sudbury school would say that kids are inquisitive by nature and by mixing ages and mixing kids with all different interests, they'll pick it up, either directly or indirectly (indirectly could be playing Minecraft or somne other video game).  And if they didn't, they didn't need it.  I'm not saying that is valid, just that I can't answer if it is true or not.  I'd need to have enough faith in their system and then let it work.

On the SAT question -- now you hit on it, something quantifiable that I can compare to! -- well, it doesn't seem like there are hard numbers out there.  Nor do they seem to keep traditional records of X number of kids went to a 4-year school, of them A went to a top 20 school, etc.  Of statistics I could find, the number thrown around is that, supposedly, 80% of Sudbury kids go on to college, but they don't always do it immediately after K-12 and they seem to often go to a two-year/community college first.  On the latter, it sounds like a lot of kids start taking some classes at community colleges a year or two before graduation to get a feel for what post-Sudbury school might be like.  They report that must kids excel at those classes.  They can then use these classes and the transcript for the community college to provide 4-year schools something to prove their abilities.  Some do study for and take the SAT/ACT and claim they do just fine -- learning to the test and knowing fully why they are learning it -- but, again, there are no hard scores.

It is, of course, really hard to deconstruct exactly what went into our successes and failures.  With that said, when I think back on my own childhood, probably the things that taught me the most were the activities that I was passionate (back then they described this more as obsession) about.  These were largely things outside of school because school can expose you to something but then you move on to the next thing.  Anyway, I'd say my love of computers, and infinite hours spent on a VIC-20 and Commodore 64 "importing" games, programming, setting up a BBS, talking with people all over the World, has probably served me better than anything else.   

For those that are interested, here is a study based on a survey of unschooled students.  The results were overwhelmingly positive, but even the author admits that might be because only those with positive experiences responded:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201406/survey-grown-unschoolers-i-overview-findings

This school allows kids (actually requires kids if they want to attend) to put in a week at the school.  I'm slowly moving towards letting my daughter at least try that to see if it works for her.


Chrissy

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 01:05:27 PM »
I'd love to get some input, to the extent anyone has insight, especially focusing on outcomes in terms of multiple measures of success (e.g., happiness, confidence, versatility, ability to make it in the real world, etc.).  Do you think this type of learning can be limiting?

I know about Sudbury, but there's not one close enough for us to consider.  We went with Montessori for our toddler this year and feel the method instills all of the qualities you listed and knowledge of self.  Our school showed us how they teach math, business skills, and even supported an engineering project by a couple of 10-year-olds.  Actually, as a person who makes their living in the arts, I was sad that the music program was not more robust.

Done right, I think self-directed learning is the way to go.  It shouldn't be limiting unless the child is not exposed to and encouraged to explore a wide range of subjects and views. 

Also, my FIL was a school psychologist in the public school system, and he was ECSTATIC that we were choosing Montessori.

ZMonet

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 01:24:59 PM »
@Chrissy Thanks for your input.  You raise a good point and offer a reminder that we don't necessarily need to go "all in" to Sudbury but, instead, could consider Montessori as a viable alternative that isn't as "extreme".  Interestingly, one parent in the  was asking about the similarities between Montessori and Sudbury.  Basically, Sudbury is just further along the continuum.  I saw this on a website and it pretty much mirrors what they said at the open house.

Sudbury Model Schools vs. Montessori Schools
Similarities: In both settings, children are allowed more freedom and are encouraged to make decisions about what interests them at the moment. Both school models understand the fact that children are naturally curious and do not need to be forced to learn.

Differences: Children at Montessori schools are only offered specific options presented by the teacher. At Sudbury model schools, children are offered a full array of activities which life itself presents. Montessori educators believe that all children learn according to specific patterns and sequences. The Sudbury model makes no assumptions about how individual children will learn at any age.

koshtra

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 04:38:04 PM »
I went to a Sudbury-style school (this was before Sudbury) and I ended up with an advanced degree from Yale and a nice Mustachian retirement after some years employed by IBM.

Not what everyone will do, of course, and we're somewhat more hagridden by credentialism now than we were a generation ago, but I've always been grateful for my unorthodox education.

ZMonet

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 04:58:48 PM »
@koshtra --  Thanks for the input.  Good to know that you can still get to a prestigious school like Yale from a Sudberry-like school.  If you don't mind me asking, what was your route to Yale?  Did you go directly out of "high school" or did you go to a less traditional college and then navigate there for a post-grad degree?

mxt0133

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 05:30:29 PM »
As a homescooling parent that sees tremendous value in the unschooling or self-directed learning philosophy my personal opinion is that the learner should have some context or experiences to be able to make decisions on what they want to study and not study.  If they only did things they liked they might be missing out some things that were difficult or seemed uninteresting at first but if they only dug a little deeper might actually find something really worth while.  So with my kids we do the 3Rs until they can really start learning on their own.  However, we do have structured learning to help refine their thought process and introduce them to subjects that they might not naturally gravitate towards.  We try our best to present the material in a manner that matches their learning style, i.e. math work sheets don't work for my boys so we do tactile math games to exercise math operations, and books that use stories to explore abstract math concepts.

I went through a lot of research on how we should homeschool our children and at the end of the day there are successes and failures any way you go.  The most common theme I do find in success stories were involved but not over bearing/invested parents and sheer luck based on the individual's interests, capabilities, environment and opportunities available.  Which is a long way of saying that you have no idea how your kids will turn out no matter what you do.

So do what you and your child feels right and continuously re-evaluate if what you are doing is still what is best for your child.  The fact that 1) you are on this forum 2) asking complete strangers about your child's education (good thing that you are crowd sourcing opinions and experiences) and 3) you can even financially consider enrolling her in a Sudbury school means that she is already statically ahead of 90% kids her age in terms of future academic success and earnings potential.  As for happiness I don't recall the exact stats, but it's still a pretty strong correlation to socioeconomic success.







koshtra

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2018, 05:46:55 PM »
@koshtra --  Thanks for the input.  Good to know that you can still get to a prestigious school like Yale from a Sudberry-like school.  If you don't mind me asking, what was your route to Yale?  Did you go directly out of "high school" or did you go to a less traditional college and then navigate there for a post-grad degree?

I got a BA at Evergreen State. So by the time I applied to grad school I hadn't had a letter grade or a grade average since the 9th grade.

Laura33

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 07:18:34 PM »
@cats -- I hear you about concerns that kids will not get the guidance that they need at higher levels of a subject.  The answer that we have gotten from the Sudbury school was that: (1) with the Internet, all information is accessible; (2) a staff member can help facilitate #1, if necessary; and (3) if #1 and #2 fail, the student can potentially gather up other students to vote for (everything is democratic -- "teachers" (they don't really call them that) get the same one vote as students).  Overall, their answer to all of these sorts of questions is, if someone wants it enough, they will find a way and the school looks to facilitate that.

@formerlydivorcedmom -- I share your concern about not getting enough exposure to other areas than their, at that time, predominant interest.  The Sudbury school would say that kids are inquisitive by nature and by mixing ages and mixing kids with all different interests, they'll pick it up, either directly or indirectly (indirectly could be playing Minecraft or somne other video game).  And if they didn't, they didn't need it.

Ok, let me preface this with some caveats.  I absolutely hate the test focus of many schools nowadays.  I cannot tolerate “one size fits all” learning, because it sure never fit my DD.  We very happily sent her to Montessori, which was an awesome fit for her in preschool.

With all that said: these statements would be completely disqualifying in my book.  If the teachers don’t know, they can help the kid google it?  If the kid doesn’t naturally express an interest in something, they didn’t need it anyway?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Because we don’t need to understand history, or reading, or science, or math if it’s haaaaard and doesn’t come naturally? 

Look, I am all for self-directed learning - again, hello, Montessori.  But I am also a firm believer in a liberal arts education, which is precisely the opposite concept: that every human should have a basic foundation in history and literature and math and science and civics and art and all of the other great achievements of our civilization.  We have enough people running around the world today who can’t math, or who have no clue what the scientific method is, or who have only the vaguest notion of how our government is supposed to work and what differentiates us from others.  But if you left my 12-yr-old to his own devices, his days would be filled by Fortnite, with a few breaks for YouTube and Pop Tarts.  And if you left my now-16-yr-old Montessori kid to her own devices, she’d have given up every subject as soon as it got hard, instead of pushing through until it clicks and she gets it

I don’t think that kind of education is at all inconsistent with Sudbury or any other educational philosophy - the world is an awesome laboratory, and kids - especially younger kids - really do want to figure it out.  But that is why you need knowledgeable and experienced teachers to guide the learning to bring in those different disciplines and help the kids make those different connections.  What kind of education and training do the teachers have?  I would want to see significant knowledge in the field they teach, along with some serious training in pedagogical theory.  And the more individualized the “lesson plan,” the more critical the skill of the teachers.  For me, “just google it” would not come close to reassuring me that they have the kind of teachers and system to provide the kind of guide the kids need to succeed in a more unstructured environment; and the idea that kids will naturally do whatever they need on their own certainly does not give me any confidence that those same teachers will be the motivator kids like mine need periodically to get off their asses and try something hard and keep pushing until they figure it out.

(And, sorry, but math is hard, especially once you get to less-intuitive areas like algebra and trig, and most kids just need lots of practice and really good teachers to really internalize how it all works.)

Can I ask what is driving you to look at alternative schools?  Is it an actual problem with your current schools, or just a dislike/distrust of the public option(s) in your area?  I ask because I avoided our local public, thinking that my little electron would do better if she stayed in Montessori.  But Montessori changed its philosophy and had no idea how to deal with her by the elementary school grades, and when we decided to give the public a try, we had THE best teacher she has ever had, who knew exactly how to manage her and basically brought her back from the brink of massive anxiety/depression/hating school/thinking she was stupid and a bad kid (at 7!).  Plus, you know, I am all about starting with “free” unless and until “free” is demonstrably not working.  😉

Islander

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 12:19:24 AM »
Just wanted to say Iam loving all the great discussions on this topic. A lot of great and informative exchange of thoughts and ideas. I think one previous response hits the nail on the head when they mentioned that it does depend on the child and that either path you decide to choose, you will have  to reevaluate and adjust as you go. You know your child best!

Cranky

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 05:20:39 AM »
I teach a 7th/8th grade class in a small Montessori school (so the kids are around 12yo when they come into my class, and around 14yo when they leave.)

Over the years, we've had a number of kids come in from "unschooling" backgrounds, some because they really wanted to go to a "real" school, and some because their parents finally got worried about some academic problems. Like just about anything else, I think there's no one size fits all in education.

But I think that a tiny school makes a big difference. When the teachers really get to know the kids, that's priceless. My class has a fairly traditional curriculum, but we are able to fit it to a wide variety of students with a wide variety of interests and an equally wide variety of abilities. It's pretty spectacular when the kid who only liked math learns that she also likes history, and the kid who hates reading finds a book he can't put down. I think requiring kids to try different things, and pushing them a bit outside their comfort zones is a good thing - and maybe the essence of teaching.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 10:26:33 AM »
@cats -- I hear you about concerns that kids will not get the guidance that they need at higher levels of a subject.  The answer that we have gotten from the Sudbury school was that: (1) with the Internet, all information is accessible; (2) a staff member can help facilitate #1, if necessary; and (3) if #1 and #2 fail, the student can potentially gather up other students to vote for (everything is democratic -- "teachers" (they don't really call them that) get the same one vote as students).  Overall, their answer to all of these sorts of questions is, if someone wants it enough, they will find a way and the school looks to facilitate that.

@formerlydivorcedmom -- I share your concern about not getting enough exposure to other areas than their, at that time, predominant interest.  The Sudbury school would say that kids are inquisitive by nature and by mixing ages and mixing kids with all different interests, they'll pick it up, either directly or indirectly (indirectly could be playing Minecraft or somne other video game).  And if they didn't, they didn't need it.

Ok, let me preface this with some caveats.  I absolutely hate the test focus of many schools nowadays.  I cannot tolerate “one size fits all” learning, because it sure never fit my DD.  We very happily sent her to Montessori, which was an awesome fit for her in preschool.

With all that said: these statements would be completely disqualifying in my book.  If the teachers don’t know, they can help the kid google it?  If the kid doesn’t naturally express an interest in something, they didn’t need it anyway?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Because we don’t need to understand history, or reading, or science, or math if it’s haaaaard and doesn’t come naturally? 


I'm with Laura on this. Also on the "free unless free doesn't work" philosophy.

I wrote out a long post about customizing education and deleted it.  It reflected what I value in an education.

What's most important is - what are your goals for your daughter's education?  What parts of those goals are unable to be met by public education?  What parts of those goals can and cannot be met by an unschooling environment?

koshtra

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 12:26:45 PM »
I'm a long ways away from my "free school" days now, a lot of roads since then. Some of the stuff I thought was VERY important then -- being "free" and having autonomy -- seem a bit delusional now. When are human beings ever free or autonomous?

What does seem important, at this distance, is being treated with a certain fundamental compassion and respect. Some of my pre-free-school teachers did this and some didn't. All my free school teachers did, AND -- far more importantly -- all my free school peers did too. That was the critical element, and much of it was just fortuitous. You could organize a school on "free" principles and have it be horrible, if the culture of the students was horrible. I don't know how to figure that out from the outside. I kinda don't think you can: I think you'd need to hang out at the school and be with the kids for a while.

I dunno. I hadn't taken any math after the ninth grade, though I always liked math: there were just other things I was interested in more. But when I decided to go back to school for a computer science degree, in my thirties, I just picked up pre-calculus text and blasted through it one summer (having a wonderful time!) and I took calculus that fall and did fine. I think the confidence and motivation that made me able to sail through that intensive learning was largely a gift of my free school background. I thought I could do anything, with teachers or without. (That was wrong too, but it was a useful delusion to have, much better than the "Oh I don't have the background & the transcripts so I'm helpless" delusion.)

I was smart kid, of course, if not as smart as I thought I was. And my Dad was a science teacher who loved to teach and I absorbed more science from him than most kids seem to absorb with a BS degree. So I had advantages. I was also emotionally distressed and proud as Lucifer and easy to offend, which is not a good recipe for getting along in a typical public school.

Who knows what would have been? My guess is that if I'd stayed in the public schools, I would have been dead or in jail by the time I was 18. Instead I've had a remarkably fortunate and productive life, a couple really rewarding careers, and a lovely marriage. My debt of gratitude to my free school is very, very deep.

ZMonet

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 02:08:18 PM »
Quote
ith all that said: these statements would be completely disqualifying in my book.  If the teachers don’t know, they can help the kid google it?  If the kid doesn’t naturally express an interest in something, they didn’t need it anyway?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Because we don’t need to understand history, or reading, or science, or math if it’s haaaaard and doesn’t come naturally?

In fairness, I'm probably simplifying their response and I wouldn't want anyone to remotely think that I, at least at this point, have a full grasp of a Sudburry-type education.

Quote
What kind of education and training do the teachers have?

I don't entirely know the "teacher's" background.  I know the founder, who is on staff, has a degree from Harvard.  As an aside, and something I find interesting, the staff is on one-year contracts where students need to vote on whether to pick up the contract for the following year.

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Can I ask what is driving you to look at alternative schools?  Is it an actual problem with your current schools, or just a dislike/distrust of the public option(s) in your area?  I ask because I avoided our local public, thinking that my little electron would do better if she stayed in Montessori.  But Montessori changed its philosophy and had no idea how to deal with her by the elementary school grades, and when we decided to give the public a try, we had THE best teacher she has ever had, who knew exactly how to manage her and basically brought her back from the brink of massive anxiety/depression/hating school/thinking she was stupid and a bad kid (at 7!).  Plus, you know, I am all about starting with “free” unless and until “free” is demonstrably not working.  😉

Believe me, I share all of your concerns about Sudbury and other types of education.  There is nothing crazily wrong with the public school option she is at right now and she will likely continue on with that option.  My daughter makes honor roll, has lots of friends, and is a "good kid" that is extremely agreeable.  But after a few years in the public school system, I realize that the teachers don't have the capacity to try and get a middle/upper middle of the pack kid to the next level.  I get it.  They are too busy dealing with kids at the two extremes. We try and supplement by teaching our daughter all sorts of things, from hanging drywall to history, and having her take part in all sorts of activities.  The combination works...BUT, we all are on here, I think, because we are looking to optimize and, in that quest, I think most of us are open to new ideas on alternative ways of doing things.  FIRE obviously once was a crazy idea that only the smallest fringe even thought about.  Anyway, we're just interested in exploring what is out there and figuring out whether it is worth the extra expense (about $9k/year) and risk.

I am also greatly concerned about all the stress and pressure that is placed on kids these days.  Some need it; my daughter doesn't.  Her inner voice is especially loud and she gets things done with few reminders.  To date, we've worked with a therapist to lower the volume on the inner voice and give her coping techniques...not because she needs it, but rather because we think learning those skills early will pay huge dividends.  We've also been reading The Conscious Parent (https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Parent-Transforming-Ourselves-Empowering/dp/1897238452) and found it to be extremely helpful in approaching our relationship with our daughter a bit differently.

So, for right now, we're really just doing our due diligence to see if it is even a viable option.  The exercise alone has really forced us to think long and hard about what we want for our daughter -- what we value, why we value it, what the different school's value, etc. -- and how best to achieve those goals.  I tell you, you really have to dig deep...While I'm not convinced that we should put my daughter in a Sudbury school, I now certainly see value in something I initially outright dismissed.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 05:47:54 PM by ZMonet »

Laura33

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 07:12:35 PM »
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Just had to say, based on all the thought and research and effort you are putting into this, I'm confident your kid will be fine whatever you decide.  That's some good parenting there.

littlebird

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Re: Is Unschooling/Sudbury Learning Limiting Later in Life?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2018, 05:49:01 AM »
I don't know if I like the idea of the kids voting on whether to renew a contract for a teacher. As a kid I remember disliking the teachers who were strict and made me work hard. You know what they say, students are the only customers who demand less for their money.